Are you a downhill skiing or snowboarding expert, a decent skier or a complete novice? Whichever category you fall into (fall into…get it?) Bulgaria has the ski slopes you need in fantastic resorts and at prices you won’t believe.
So, why choose Bulgaria over the trendier slopes around Europe and the world? Well, firstly it has been estimated that a family of four could end up spending over £3000 less on a one week holiday by choosing Bulgaria over Switzerland for their skiing break! But surely such a saving must come at a cost, right?
There may be a little less pomp about Bulgarian skiing than skiing in the Alps but is that necessarily a bad thing?
Let’s find out what skiing in Bulgaria is all about.
Bansko is the biggest ski resort in Bulgaria and features modern accommodation and 70 kilometres of fantastic slopes on the side of the Pirin Mountain. There are two main centres on the mountain, Chalin Valog and Shiligarinika. Add to that the historic buildings of the old town and you have the ingredients for a great visit. Snow typically arrives in December and lasts until May and conditions are maintained by massive snow cannons strategically placed on the mountain. Snowboarders are kept busy in the fun park that allows them to construct their own jumps. Apres ski is provided by the many bars and restaurants. Many of the bars offer snacks and the hotels offer fine dining to residents and non-residents alike. Or try one of the many Mehanas, traditional Bansko taverns serving Bulgarian fare and offering lots of evening entertainment.
To get there – There are flights to Sofia from all over UK or it is possible to fly to Plovdiv from London. The resort is about 160 kilometres from each airport but transfers are possible by taxi for about £100 return.
Set high in the Rila Mountain stands the modern ski resort of Borovets. The snow here is ideal for skiing during the winter months, including snowboarding and ski doo. There are also facilities for night skiing. There are slopes available for all standards and the accommodation here is of a high standard. Apres ski is provided by fine restaurants and many bars.
To get there – Fly to Sofia…the resort is less than an hour away with return transfers available for about £60.
This Rhodopi Mountain resort is the sunniest skiing destination in Bulgaria. There are many slopes for beginners and some more difficult slopes. For après ski, there are plenty of bars and discos. This is a real party town offering happy hours and low prices. Many bars also serve snacks and there are absolutely no entrance fees for any venue in the resort.
To get there – Fly to Sofia but be aware that the resort is about three hours’ drive. Accordingly, transfers are more expensive, approximately £140 return.
Chepelare is situated in the valley of the Rhodopi Mountain, beneath Pamporovo. This is a smaller ski resort, with ‘easier’ slopes and less expensive accommodation when compared to the other featured resorts. In terms of après ski, there is less choice of bars and restaurants but the resort has a smaller town charm.
To get there – see Pamporovo above. Transfers are similarly priced and take roughly the same length of time.
Smaller Ski Resorts
Dobrinishte is very near to Pamporovo and Cepelare and is popular as both a winter and summer resort. The small town is very charming and features springs as well as skiing.
Banya is in the same region as Pamporovo and is another smaller resort that is also popular in the summer.
Beli Iskar is much closer to Sofia (65 kilometres from the capital), near to Borovets. This is a tiny village that travellers tend to return to year after year.
Berkovitsa is about 90 kilometres north of Sofia. The small town has a charm all of its own and is set in hilly mountain terrain.
Dupnitsa in the south west of Bulgaria is set in the lower reaches of the Rila Mountain. This is only 70 kilometres from Sofia so the transfer from the airport is fast and cheap.
There are many other ski resorts in Bulgaria – too many to mention here and they all have a couple of things in common. Firstly you are assured a warm welcome from the people of Bulgaria who exude genuine warmth towards their visitors. And secondly…the undoubted value for money offered in Bulgaria. You never get the feeling of being ripped-off, whether you spend the whole of your stay in a ski resort or you venture to spend some time exploring the wonderful capital city.
If you are looking for a skiing break, you could certainly do worse than check out Bulgaria.
This article was provided to us by Penguin Car Hire, a car hire firm supplying Bulgarian tourists and residents with all types of vehicle hire options.